Brendan Gleeson names his favourite movies of all time

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Brendan Gleeson names his favourite movies of all time

(Credits: Far Out / Searchlight Pictures)


The filmography of Brendan Gleeson is highly impressive, including excellent roles in films including BraveheartMichael CollinsGangs of New York and The Tragedy of Macbeth. Perhaps Gleeson is best known for his work with director Martin McDonagh, though, having played in his films In Bruges and The Banshees of Inisherin. Gleeson also performed for McDonagh’s brother John Michal in the 2011 film The Guard.

In an interview with, Gleeson once named his favourite films of all time, and they are starkly different in genre and approach to cinematic storytelling. The list goes to show what an eclectic taste in cinema he has and gives us a clue as to the films that inspire him.

Gleeson said, “I remember Bambi, for a start. I remember Elephant Man; I remember Deliverance. They’re three that I remember being profoundly moved by in the early years. So they would be three that would have been very formative, for different reasons obviously.”



Bambi is the Disney 1942 animated classic, the fifth film the production giant ever released. It’s based on the 1923 novel Bambi, a Life in the Woods, written by Felix Salten, and is one of the most harrowing films Disney have ever put out, particularly the moment at which the young deer’s mother dies, which ruined many of us.

Discussing the film, Gleeson noted, “Obviously, Bambi gets you confronting grief at an earlier age than maybe you’re prepared for; I think that’s a very interesting thing in the sense that it prepares people for life in an odd way with just drawn characters. I always find that pretty amazing.”

The Elephant Man, meanwhile, is David Lynch’s 1980 biographical film about a physically disfigured man by the name of Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film, who lived in late 19th Century London. John Hurt played the lead role, and it’s a performance that has stuck with Gleeson, who said, “I’ll never forget John Hurt in Elephant Man; your heart would break.”

 Finally, Deliverance is John Boorman’s countryside thriller, starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, who play four friends who head to the Georgia wilderness to canoe down a river. However, then run into trouble with “backwoods” locals, who take a dislike to city folk. “Deliverance was such an exposure of what sexual violence means, particularly for a man,” Gleeson said of the film. “I remember being completely blown away by it. “

Brendan Gleeson names his favourite movies of all time

  • Bambi (Various, 1942)
  • Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
  • The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980)

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